Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google

Google Strikes Deal With Verizon To Reduce Patent Troll Suits 18

Posted by samzenpus
from the why-can't-we-be-friends? dept.
mpicpp writes Google Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. struck a long-term patent cross-license agreement to reduce the risk of future patent lawsuits, the latest in a string of deals that signal a slowdown after years of aggressive patent wars. The deal effectively bars the companies from suing each other over any of the thousands of patents the companies currently own or acquire in the next five years. It also protects the companies if either sells a patent to another company, and that company attempts a lawsuit. "This cross license allows both companies to focus on delivering great products and services to consumers around the world," said Kirk Dailey, Google's head of patent transactions.
Verizon

Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor 158

Posted by Soulskill
from the part-and-parcel dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from TechDirt: As a string of whistle blowers like former AT&T employee Mark Klein have made clear abundantly clear, the line purportedly separating intelligence operations from the nation's incumbent phone companies was all-but obliterated long ago. As such, it's relatively amusing to see Verizon announce this week that the company is offering up a new encrypted wireless voice service named Voice Cypher. Voice Cypher, Verizon states, offers "end-to-end" encryption for voice calls on iOS, Android, or BlackBerry devices equipped with a special app made by Cellcrypt.

Verizon says it's initially pitching the $45 per phone service to government agencies and corporations, but would ultimately love to offer it to consumers as a line item on your bill. Of course by "end-to-end encryption," Verizon means that the new $45 per phone service includes an embedded NSA backdoor free of charge. Apparently, in Verizon-land, "end-to-end encryption" means something entirely different than it does in the real world.
Privacy

Snowden Leaks Prompt Internet Users Worldwide To Protect Their Data 53

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-differing-values-of-"protect" dept.
Lucas123 writes: A new international survey of internet users from 24 countries has found that more than 39% of them have taken steps to protect their data since Edward Snowden leaked the NSA's spying practices. The survey, conducted by the Center for International Governance Innovation, found that 43% of Internet users now avoid certain websites and applications and 39% change their passwords regularly. Security expert Bruce Schneier chastised the media for trying to downplay the numbers by saying "only" 39%" have taken action and "only 60%" have heard of Snowden. The news articles, "are completely misunderstanding the data," Schneier said, pointing out that by combining data on Internet penetration with data from the international survey, it works out to 706 million people who are now taking steps to protect their online data. Additionally, two-thirds (64%) of users indicated they are more concerned today about online privacy than they were a year ago. Another notable finding: 83% of users believe that affordable access to the Internet should be a basic human right.
Communications

Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the speaking-internet-doesn't-help dept.
sciencehabit writes: Speak or write in English, and the world will hear you. Speak or write in Tamil or Portuguese, and you may have a harder time getting your message out. Now, a new method for mapping how information flows around the globe (abstract) identifies the best languages to spread your ideas far and wide. One hint: If you're considering a second language, try Spanish instead of Chinese.
Canada

Govt Docs Reveal Canadian Telcos Promise Surveillance Ready Networks 74

Posted by samzenpus
from the we'll-do-it-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist reports that Canadian telecom and Internet providers have tried to convince the government that they will voluntarily build surveillance capabilities into their networks. Hoping to avoid legislative requirements, the providers argue that "the telecommunications market will soon shift to a point where interception capability will simply become a standard component of available equipment, and that technical changes in the way communications actually travel on communications networks will make it even easier to intercept communications."
Space

Airbus Attacked By French Lawmaker For Talking To SpaceX 166

Posted by timothy
from the eat-local dept.
schwit1 (797399) writes A French lawmaker lashed out at Airbus for daring to consider SpaceX as a possible launch option for a European communications satellite. "The senator, Alain Gournac, who is a veteran member of the French Parliamentary Space Group, said he had written French Economy and Industry Minister Emmanuel Macron to protest Airbus' negotiations with Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. for a late 2016 launch instead of contracting for a launch on a European Ariane 5 rocket. "The negotiations are all the more unacceptable given that, at the insistence of France, Europe has decided to adopt a policy of 'European preference' for its government launches," Gournac said. "This is called playing against your team, and it smacks of a provocation. It's an incredible situation that might lead customers to think we no longer have faith in Ariane 5 — and tomorrow, Ariane 6."
Communications

Tour the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum - Part Two (Video) 14

Posted by Roblimo
from the broadcasting-to-all-the-ships-at-sea dept.
Earlier this week we ran two videos about the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut. Their site says, "Our volunteers are happy to give personal tours," and that's what today's videos (and the two we already ran) are: personal tours of the museum conducted by volunteer Bernie Michaels, known in ham radio circles as W2LFV. And for extra fun, after we ran out of video time we added some bonus transcript material for those who remember things like Sams Photofacts. (Alternate Video Link 1 - Alternate Video Link 2)
Communications

Congress Passes Bill Allowing Warrantless Forfeiture of Private Communications 378

Posted by timothy
from the stinkin'-badges-apparently-suffice dept.
Prune writes Congress has quietly passed an Intelligence Authorization Bill that includes warrantless forfeiture of private communications to local law enforcement. Representative Justin Amash unsuccessfully attempted a late bid to oppose the bill, which passed 325-100. According to Amash, the bill "grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American." According to the article, a provision in the bill allows “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of Americans’ communications without a court order or subpoena. That type of collection is currently allowed under an executive order that dates back to former President Reagan, but the new stamp of approval from Congress was troubling, Amash said. Limits on the government’s ability to retain information in the provision did not satisfy the Michigan Republican."
United States

Report: Big Issues Remain Before Drones Can Safely Access National Airspace 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the drone-free-zone dept.
coondoggie writes The story sounds familiar – while the use of unmanned [aerial vehicles], sometimes illegally, is increasing, there are myriad challenges to ultimately allow them safe access to national airspace. The watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office issued a report on the integration of unmanned aerial systems, as it calls them, in US national airspace (NAS) today ahead of a congressional hearing on the topic. As it has noted in past reports, the GAO said the main issues continue to include the ability for drones to avoid other aircraft in the sky; what backup network is available and how should the system behave if it loses its communications link.
Communications

Why Open Source Matters For Sensitive Email 73

Posted by samzenpus
from the better-mail dept.
Jason Baker writes Can you really trust your email provider? And even if you self-host your email server, can you really trust its security if you can't see the code? Over on Opensource.com, Olivier Thierry makes three cases for using open source to power your email solution: The power of numbers, the value of trust, and the importance of leverage.
Government

Feds Plan For 35 Agencies To Collect, Share, Use Health Records of Americans 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-a-party-and-everyone's-invited dept.
cold fjord writes: The Weekly Standard reports, "This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the release of the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020, which details the efforts of some 35 departments and agencies of the federal government and their roles in the plan to 'advance the collection, sharing, and use of electronic health information to improve health care, individual and community health, and research.' ... Now that HHS has publicly released the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, the agency is seeking the input from the public before implementation. The plan is subject to two-month period of public comment before finalization. The comment period runs through February 6, 2015." Among the many agencies that will be sharing records besides Health and Human Services are: Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Justice and Bureau of Prison, Department of Labor, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Personnel Management, National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Communications

Tour the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum (Video) 19

Posted by timothy
from the oldies-but-goodies dept.
"Welcome to the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut," is the headline on the museum's website. The site also says, "Our volunteers are happy to give personal tours," and that's what today's two videos (and two more we'll run tomorrow or later in the week) are: personal tours of the museum conducted by volunteer Bernie Michaels, known in ham radio circles as W2LFV. (Alternate Video Link 1) (Alternate Video Link 2)
Communications

Ofcom Will Remove Mandatory Ham Callsign ID Interval, Allow Encryption For Some 57

Posted by Soulskill
from the slowly-but-surly dept.
product_bucket writes: The UK's radio regulator, Ofcom, today published changes in the licensing conditions that remove the mandatory 15-minute callsign ID interval on all allocated frequencies apart from 5MHz, where special conditions remain. In its place, a requirement for the station to be "clearly identifiable at all times" has been made, along with a requirement to transmit the station callsign "as frequently as is practicable" in a form consistent with the operating mode. The decision also permits the use of encryption (PDF) when the station is being used for, or on behalf of a user service such as St. John Ambulance. Unusually, no response to the consultation (PDF) has been made available, so there is at present no way to assess the extent to which the changes were based on actual responses.
Communications

How the NSA Is Spying On Everyone: More Revelations 148

Posted by timothy
from the your-own-good dept.
The Intercept has published today a story detailing documents that "reveal how the NSA plans to secretly introduce new flaws into communication systems so that they can be tapped into—a controversial tactic that security experts say could be exposing the general population to criminal hackers." The documents also describe a years-long effort, aimed at hostile and friendly regimes, from the point of view of the U.S. government, to break the security of various countries' communications networks. "Codenamed AURORAGOLD, the covert operation has monitored the content of messages sent and received by more than 1,200 email accounts associated with major cellphone network operators, intercepting confidential company planning papers that help the NSA hack into phone networks."
The Internet

UK Completes 250km of Undersea Broadband Rollouts 70

Posted by timothy
from the part-of-the-anti-independence-conspiracy dept.
DW100 writes The UK has completed a highly challenging rollout of broadband to remote islands in Scotland, covering 250km of seabed. The work has taken many months but will mean some 150,000 residents in the islands will be able to get broadband of up to 80Mbps. A cable laying ship, the Rene Descartes, carried out the work, with the longest cable stretching 50 miles between islands.
Google

Google Hopes To One Day Replace Gmail With Inbox 239

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-fine-day dept.
An anonymous reader writes Three Inbox by Gmail engineers today answered questions as part of a Reddit AMA session. Most of the answers were tidbits we've heard of before, but one stood out to us: Google plans to eventually replace Gmail with Inbox. In response to the question "Do you think Inbox will replace Gmail on the long road?," lead designer Jason Cornwell gave the following answer: "In the short term, no. In the very long term, we hope so. Inbox is something new — that's why we're launching it as a separate product. We care deeply about Gmail and Gmail users, but in the long run as we add more features to Inbox and respond to user feedback we hope that everyone will want to use Inbox instead of Gmail. Ultimately, our users will decide." The followup question asks how Google believed one email product possibly target both casual (Gmail) and power (Inbox) users, to which Cornwell replied: "They are not aimed at fundamentally different audiences. Both Gmail and Inbox are designed to scale from low volume to high volume users."
Technology

The Fastest Camera Ever Made Captures 100 Billion Frames Per Second 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-forget-the-flash dept.
Jason Koebler writes A new imaging technique is able to capture images at 100 billion frames per second—fast enough to watch light interact with objects, which could eventually lead to new cloaking technologies. The camera was developed by a team at Washington University in St. Louis—for the team's first tests, it was able to visualize laser pulse reflections, photons racing through air and through resin, and "faster-than-light propagation of non-information." It can also be used in conjunction with telescopes and to image optical and quantum communications, according to lead researcher Liang Gao.
The Internet

What Canada Can Teach the US About Net Neutrality 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-to-do-and-what-not-to-do dept.
blottsie writes If there are two ways in which the Internet is similar in the United States and Canada, it's that it's slow and expensive in both places relative to many developed countries. The big difference, however, is that Canada is looking into doing something about it. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission—the northern equivalent of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)— is examining how the wholesale market, where smaller Internet service providers (ISPs) use parts of bigger companies' networks to sell their own services, should operate in the years ahead. The industry reaction to this proposal provides insights to the potential consequences of re-classifying broadband in the U.S. as a Title II public utility.
Communications

18th Century Law Dredged Up To Force Decryption of Devices 446

Posted by timothy
from the do-you-own-yourself dept.
Cognitive Dissident writes The Register has a story about federal prosecutors using a law signed by George Washington to force manufacturers to help law enforcement access encrypted data on devices they manufacture. The All Writs Act is a broad statute simply authorizing courts to issue any order necessary to obtain information within their jurisdiction. Quoting the Register article: "Last month, New York prosecutors successfully persuaded a judge that the ancient law could be used to force an unnamed smartphone manufacturer to help unlock a phone allegedly used in a credit card fraud case. The judge ordered the manufacturer to offer 'reasonable technical assistance' to make the phone's contents available." What will happen when this collides with Apple and Google deliberately creating encryption that they themselves cannot break?
Encryption

BlackBerry Clears Hurdle For Voice Crypto Acquisition 27

Posted by samzenpus
from the still-going dept.
angry tapir writes BlackBerry is now free to integrate German security vendor Secusmart's voice encryption technology in its smartphones and software, after the German government approved its acquisition of the company. BlackBerry CEO John Chen still wants his company to be the first choice of CIOs that want nothing but the best security as he works to turn around the company's fortunes.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

Working...